While Legacy Of The Anointed (Argonauta Records) may be Spiral Grave’s full-length debut, it’s easy to also think of it as the sixth Iron Man album under a different name. After all, the musicians involved were part of that band’s last active lineup with guitarist Willy Rivera in place of the tragically passed on bandmate, Al Morris III. The style also bares a superficial resemblance to the Doom Metal approach last seen on 2013’s South Of The Earth. However, there’s a distinction between the two entities and Spiral Grave uses that connection as a springboard for their own identity.
In contrast to the darker doom path that Grief Collector established with 2019’s From Dissension To Avowal, their first proper full-length shows more direct connections to singer Robert Lowe’s past projects. ‘Corridors’ opens En Delirium (Petrichor Records) in a similar fashion that ‘Falling’ started off Solitude Aeturnus’s Through The Darkest Hour, featuring a catchy Grunge groove and lofty vocal lines. There are even some Classic Metal touches comparable to the most recent Tyrant album on ‘Our Poisonous Ways’ and ‘The Letting Go.’
Following up a breakthrough album, such as Boss Keloid’s last opus Melted On The Inch (Holy Roar) which finished at #4 in Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year poll in 2018, is a challenging proposition. Stray too far from the magic formula and you risk undoing that giant stride taken forwards (even without being a band that has always taken efforts to ensure development and evolution of their sound is a given); repeat the previous approach and accusations of diminishing returns, or playing it safe, abound along with an invariably inferior product. Continue reading
The role of mythology is to inspire both individual and collective growth through storytelling. Myths do that by making sense of the world. Vital (Southern Lord) by BIG | BRAVE is a mythical-sounding album that does just that. Of the colossal yet intimate Vital, the Doom-Sludge trio from Montreal featuring Robin Wattie, Mathieu Ball, and Tasy Hudson says, “This album involves what it means navigating the outside world in a racialized body and what it does to the psyche as a whole while exploring individual worth within this reality.” Vital tells a story through sound that makes sense of the modern world, prompting growth for those who listen.
Shows are starting to come back as both the pandemic is lessening vaccination rates are going up, as well as bands and fans have the desperate itch to rock out again. As long as it continues to be safe, we’ll see more socially distanced smaller gigs and even bigger theater shows and festivals start happening. One such return to the stage was Crowbar who performed a pair of shows near their hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Southport Music Hall. The band played some crushing classics as they get tight for more live demonstrations of their power soon. They were even joined by former band member Sammy Duet of Goatwhore! n their way to releasing new music later this year or early next year via eOne Music. Check out this photo set from Evil Robb Photography who was there in person to document the night!
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – L.W.
As indicated by the title, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s seventeenth full-length essentially serves as the second half of 2020’s K.G. and picks up where it left off stylistically. L.W. (Flightless Records) sees the completion of the microtone trilogy that started with 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana, emphasizing a similar mix of Middle Eastern scales, rhythmic percussion, and loosely flowing song structures. ‘Static Electricity’ and ‘See Me’ do the best job of dialing that vibe with their upbeat pacing while the grandiose chugs and life-affirming chants make the closing ‘K.G.L.W.’ one of the band’s most over the top Doom Metal dives to date.Continue reading
Released almost exactly a year to the day from the Coronavirus outbreak being officially declared a global pandemic, Louisiana sludge merchants Eyehategod take the last twelve painful months and turn them into a forty-minute outburst of depressive rage and explosive nihilistic aggression.Continue reading
Every album that Moonspell releases explores a different facet of their Gothic Metal style, sometimes responding to the one before it in a constant tug-o-war between darkness and light. Their thirteenth album, Hermitage (Napalm Records), is no exception. In contrast to the grandiose symphonics of 2018’s 1755, the band opts for a scaled-back, atmospheric approach with more Prog influence thrown in than usual. It seems to invoke the band’s early vibe without going full throwback and also reminds me of Tiamat or Opeth in spots.
John The Baptist – John The Baptist (1/3)
Following in the footsteps of their fellow Finns in Reverend Bizarre, John The Baptist’s self-titled debut pushes Doom Metal to its most excruciating limits. Befitting the incredibly drawn-out track lengths and overall runtime, the tempos crawl at an agonizingly glacial pace with the climactic speedups coming up as long overdue rarities. The production is raw without getting too lo-fi as the guitars and bass sit in near equal prominence while the vocals aim for an unhinged, operatic character. It’s decently made but also seems designed to have next to no appeal beyond the deepest of niches.
Directed by Mike Holderbeast (Exhorder/High on Fire) what you see (and hear) from “Crowbar from New Orleeeaanns!” third slab of live streamage is what you’d expect to get… Crowbar playing a bunch of songs in an empty bar. Continue reading